Find the Perfect Prom Dress With These Tips 

Explore new aspects of your personal style by picking out the best prom dress for you.

Published March 7, 2023
Two girls shopping for dresses

Looking through racks of dresses for prom can be a fun experience, but a few suggestions on how to get started can help. With social media images and your parents' own opinions pushing you in various directions, it can be hard to hear your own voice throughout the whole thing. But it's a bit easier when you know exactly what you want, and we can help you figure that out with these tips.

Easy Tips for Picking a Prom Dress if You Feel Clueless

Mom helping daughter try on feathered red dress

Teens on the whole don't grow up going to a ton of formal events. Similarly, social media trends often spark the latest fashion inspiration. Combine these two things, and you might end up feeling a little lost when prom season comes rolling around and it's time to look for dresses.

You probably haven't really been able to spend the time (and money) experimenting with enough clothes to figure out exactly what colors, shapes, fabrics, and styles make you feel your best. And, with only a few months to try on dresses, you want to be purposeful with every one you pick up.

If you're feeling clueless about how to dress for prom, following these tips can help.

Complement Your Favorite Feature

A surefire way to help yourself feel more confident is calling attention to the feature(s) you like best. If you love your athletic physique and want to show off the hard work you've put into getting those toned shoulders and arms, gravitate towards halter or strapless dresses.

Similarly, if you love your legs, accentuate them with a dress that has a slit. Or if you can't get enough of your freckles, pick out a dress in warm tones that complements your natural pigmentation.

Don't Buy the First Dress You Try On

Emotions always run high during a dress fitting, and it's not a great idea to buy the very first dress you try on. Granted, the first dress might end up being the perfect pick. But you can't rely on that until you've tried on a few others to compare it to.

Look for Balance With Your Accessories

If you have an idea of the accessories or makeup/hair you want to wear before you pick out your prom dress, consider which is going to be busier. Typically, you want to pair fewer accessories with a bold dress, and vice versa. So, if you're obsessed with a statement belt, stick to a simpler style.

Check for a School/Venue Dress Code

Just because the movies make it seem like there are no rules on prom night doesn't mean that's always true. Reality bites sometimes, and high schools have been known to implement dress codes for their prom.

On top of that, if your prom's being held at a special venue, there might be particular requirements as to the types of clothes you can wear. For example, some schools won't let kids wear heeled shoes or bring bags to their proms. So, before you settle on a dress, make sure that you don't have to follow any specific guidelines. This can save you some serious heartbreak at the door.

Pick What You Love

At the end of the day, the most important tip for picking out a perfect prom dress is making sure that you love whatever you're wearing. Ignore social conventions and put fashion trends on their head; the point of picking out the perfect outfit for prom is finding one that's worth wearing because it makes you feel great.

Let the Experts Give you a Helping Hand

When in doubt, there are experts who have studied in various aesthetic tools that you can apply to your own wardrobe. You might have heard of some of these concepts being tossed around on TikTok or Instagram, and you can set up consultations with these experts both online and in-person.

Color Analysis

Color Analysis is a process where an expert uses fabric swatches against your face and neck to see how they dampen or brighten your natural tones. These used to be communicated as seasonal groups: summer, fall, winter, spring. Though, that language has started changing into things like dominant colors, etc.


Stylist David Kibbe introduced a standardization for 13 "image identities" that take into consideration bone structure, height, body composition, angularity, and more to create a profile you can build a wardrobe out of. Though it's not a precise science, it's something you can use to get an idea of what styles to start with.

You Don't Have to Stick to a Dress

Every year, prom's becoming a more diverse social experience. The outfits are getting more expensive, but they're also getting more original by the minute. If you're not a dress person, don't force yourself to follow in your ancestor's footsteps. Branch out and find that fancy outfit that makes you feel incredible.

If you're looking for alternatives to wearing a dress to prom, here are a few ideas:

  • Wear a full tuxedo.
  • Pair a cute corset top with a separated skirt.
  • Go full fashion with a jumpsuit.
  • Show up in the most extravagant divorcee robe you can find.

Find a Prom Dress That Fits Your Style

You can only browse so many dresses for prom before they all start to blend together. Avoid this dress hunt burnout by picking out styles, colors, and a price point you're most comfortable with ahead of time. Then, take on the stores (online and in-person) with a better idea of what you're looking for. So long as you keep your wits about you and don't settle, you'll pick out the perfect prom dress that screams you.

Find the Perfect Prom Dress With These Tips